The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) earlier  this year held a series of meetings to look into the issue of businesses' refusing to hire the unemployed and blatantly announcing so in their help wanted advertisements.

Now, New Jersey has taken matters into its own hands and outlawed ads that exclude the unemployed, whether the ads appear online or in print. The penalty for a first offense is a $1,000 fine, which then rises to $5,000 for subsequent violations.

Being a state law, the ban obviously applies only to businesses and want ads appearing within New Jersey.

Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) introduced similar legislation on a federal level in March that would amend the Civil Rights Act to include unemployed people as a protected group. The Fair Employment Act of 2011—a bill still in committee—would make it illegal for employers to refuse to hire or to lower compensation based on employment status.